The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to spell out a definite timeframe by which it would put in place all necessary physical infrastructure and basic amenities like water, electricity, traffic, parking and sanitation as projected in the Master Plan for Delhi-2021.
A Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, which recently stayed the OBC quota law for want of necessary data to justify it, made it clear to the government that issues like water and electricity could not be deferred for long.
It asked Solicitor General GE Vahanvati to file a definite time schedule for providing the basic amenities and posted the matter for hearing on May 7.
Vahanvati said that it was indicated in the Centre’s response to the petitions challenging the MPD-2021. He, however, clarified that there could not be a uniform timeframe for all the basic amenities and separate time schedule would be given for various facilities.
The court, however, made it clear that the Centre would have to explain the rationale behind the time schedule provided by it for putting the necessary social and physical infrastructure and amenities in place. "Ultimately it can not be a never-ending exercise," the Bench observed.
Amicus Curiae Ranjit Kumar pointed court that no categorical timeframe has been given in MPD-2021 and said problems like water and parking could not be deferred till 2010. "People are shooting each other on the issue of parking," he said referring to a recent violent incident in the capital over parking. He said out of 23 sites identified for multi-level parking only one has come up.
The court also referred to the response filed by Kumar, which said the Centre did not take into account the MPD’s impact on the social and physical infrastructure before converting the residential areas into commercial/mixed land use ones.
The Amucus Curiae had pointed out that the Centre’s stand that basic amenities would be provided in due course was like ‘putting the cart before the horse’ and against all norms of town planning.
After examining the new Master Plan, Kumar had said Delhi faced the danger of "becoming an urban mess". Implementation of MPD-2021 without augmenting the basic amenities would only destroy the city and convert even the planned areas into slums.
The court reiterated its earlier order that all commercial establishments not protected under MPD-2021 or any court order has to be sealed.
The Bench clarified that it would not hear individual petitioners and that they should address the court only through the Amicus Curiae.
It dismissed a petition filed by a traders’ body in support of MPD-2021 after its counsel insisted on being heard separately, as it did not have faith in the Amicus Curiae.
"As a petitioner we have right to be heard through a counsel of our choice," the traders’ body’s counsel Tripurari Rai submitted. But the court dismissed the petition, saying it would hear all the petitioners only through the Amicus Curiae.